XXIO Eleven Irons Review
XXIO Eleven Irons
Teachers’ Comments: Easy swing produces great distance
Although XXIO likely is not familiar to a majority of American golfers, it is not a new company. For more than two decades, XXIO has been the top golf club brand in Japan. In recent years, the company has begun to make inroads in the United States.
For this review, XXIO sent a PW, 7-iron and 5-iron in their “Eleven” model. The clubs sport R-Flex graphite shafts.
To get right to the heart of the matter: I really liked the XXOP Elevens.
XXIO Eleven irons are designed for golfers with moderate swing speeds. As part of this design, the Eleven model only comes with graphite shafts. Lightweight shafts produce more speed and distance with less effort.
A club with a light swingweight, though, produces all sorts of swing faults. Thus, XXIO counterbalances the Eleven with a “Weight Plus” system that adds 13 grams of weight to the butt end of the shaft.
For what it’s worth, Jack Nicklaus used to add such counter weights to his clubs. The idea is that it assists on the takeaway and helps keep things on plane.
XXIO Eleven’s clubheads feature a double undercut cavity. These two slots cut into the body just behind the face are designed to increase flexibility for more ball speed and distance.
“We’ve been developing lightweight equipment for nearly two decades now,” said Chuck Thiry, XXIO Vice President. “That kind of experience gives you a real understanding of, not only the benefits of lightweight, but also the benefits of accompanying technologies that you can pair with lightweight to make the products perform even better. With our new Weight Plus counterbalancing technology, we are further pushing the limits of high balance point. It’s the combination of lightweight and high balance point that makes XXIO Eleven a game changer for moderate swing speed players.”
The XXIO clubheads are not overly large for what Golf Digest classifies as a “super game improvement iron.” From address, they avoid the Volkswagen-On-A-Stick look of some similarly classified clubs.
In play, I found that the XXIO Elevens produce outstanding distance with an easy swing. Indeed, going more aggressively at the ball — or trying to swing faster — produces worse results.
On my test rounds at Washtenaw Golf Club — a course where I am intimately familiar with the distances — I found that the XXIO Elevens were at least half a club longer than my Srixon Z585 Irons (read the Srixon Z585 Irons Review), which were retrofitted with Accra 50i shafts to accommodate my arthritis.
For me, ball flight with the XXIO Eleven irons has a pronounced right to left path. I do not normally hit a draw with my Srixon Z585 irons, so that came as a bit of a surprise. It likely is the result of significantly more offset.
Ball flight is also high. Balls stuck off the five iron absolutely soar. I am particularly proud of a five iron shot I recently hit into the green on Washtenaw’s thirteenth. The shot sailed over the bunkers guarding the front, coming to a screeching halt in the middle of one of the 100+ year old club’s small, elevated greens. It was like I had hit a wedge, rather than a long iron.
I can’t speak to the gapping because I only had three clubs to test.
The soles of the XXIOs play well off a variety of lies. There aren’t a lot of bare lies at Washtenaw GC — usually just under trees — but I find those spots with regularity. The XXIO Elevens also play well out of deep rough. The rough at Washtenaw right now is US Open thick (I know this because I played Erin Hills the day after the US Open there). The XXIOs dig them out with aplomb.
One of the things I worried about when adopting graphite shafts was how well they would stand up to a beating. Digging balls out of deep rough, or smacking them into muni hardpan, I imagined, would surely lead to shredded shafts.
It turns out I need not have worried. Graphite iron shafts seem to hold up just fine for my swing speed (and likely for the swing speeds of anyone who would play the XXIO Elevens).
Graphite shafts also have a reputation of having a problem with torque, leading to inconsistent shots. I did not find that to be a problem at all with the XXIO Eleven clubs. My shots are consistently slightly right to left with the five and seven irons; strongly right to left with the wedge. Knowing that, I can easily adjust my target lines.
In all, I really liked the XXIO Eleven irons. If you’re a golfer with a moderate swing speed (which is to say, the vast majority of us), they are worth testing when you are shopping for your next set of clubs.